Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

It's no shock that U.S. lawmakers don't find themselves on the same page all the time. Politicians were literally beating each other with canes on the Senate floor in the 19th century, so what's the harm in a little sharp discourse? Nothing, usually. But with the government on the course for a shutdown on Oct. 1, and an unprecedented debt default looming, the S&P 500 Index (INDEX: ^GSPC) couldn't muster any gains Friday, falling six points, or 0.4%, ending at 1,691.

J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) shares plummeted 13.2% Friday as it confirmed the sale of over $930 million in stock to raise funds for its flailing business. With whispers abounding this week that the department store may go bankrupt soon, today's announcement that the company would have $200 million less in liquid capital at year's end wasn't received well by Wall Street. 

Today's other notable decliners were both victims of analyst downgrades. Shares of International Game Technology (NYSE: IGT) slumped 7% after Deutsche Bank downgraded shares from buy to hold. While the research outfit still has a price target above where shares currently trade, shares of the tech-based gaming company aren't yet at bargain levels. Today wasn't all negative for IGT, though -- it locked in a deal to supply Caesar's with 7,000 video poker terminals. 

Deutsche Bank is also the culprit behind International Paper's (NYSE: IP) 3.9% fall today. International Paper, too, was downgraded from a buy to a hold rating, with Deutsche Bank citing margin pressures as a primary reason for its pessimistic revision. Shareholders are crossing their fingers that the company won't have another year where earnings fall more than 40%, like they did in 2012. That doesn't look to be the case; but with the company investing heavily in domestic operations, it better hope the U.S. can deliver.

Everything you need to know about the national debt
The U.S. government has piled on more than $10 trillion of new debt since 2000. Annual deficits topped $1 trillion after the financial crisis. Millions of Americans have asked: What the heck is going on?

The Motley Fool's new free report, "Everything You Need to Know About the National Debt," walks you through with step-by-step explanations about how the government spends your money, where it gets tax revenue from, the future of spending, and what a $16 trillion debt means for our future. Click here to read the full report!

Fool contributor John Divine has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on Twitter @divinebizkid and on Motley Fool CAPS @TMFDivine.

The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.